Monday, June 29, 2009

Pen-Ultimate Doctor Strange?
Ding Dong, Dork Doc is Dead.

As a part of my recent reading my backlog of the past 2+ months' pile of comics, I came across the events of Ultimate Spider-Man # 131, 132 & Ultimatum # 4.

*NOTE: Some MAJOR SPOILERS are in this post for anyone who hasn't yet read the Ultimatum storyline
(lookin' at YOU "waiting for the trade" guys out there).
This is your ONLY warning.*

Ultimatum # 4
Cover "A" by David Finch and Variant cover "B" by Ed McGuinness

Before I get involved with the seeming DEATH of the Ultimate Universe's Stephen Strange Jr., I should note that in the events of those issues, the Sanctum Sanctorum was once again destroyed.

Anyone who has followed this blog long enough (or just lucked into the posts via a google search) knows that I had a long running, and extensive expose' on ALL of the varied times that the Sanctum was destroyed.

So, the other day, I added THIS instance to that series, found [HERE] in the next-to-last entry of that series.

- A look in the mirror before heading out: - The Finale.

(You may notice that I made a note of the add-on in the "SPELLS RE-CAST" feature on the sidebar. A handy place where I note any additional major tweaks to old posts.)

So, feel free to check THAT out, but not before you stick around and witness the apparent demise of "Ultimate" Doctor Strange
(and...just WHY is he called "Doctor" Strange if he isn't a doctor of any kind, anyway? I thought only Dr. Doom had the ability to pull that off. But I digress...).

So, back to the point at hand.

In the "Ultimatum" storyline (basically the equivalent of the "reboot" switch being thrown for the line of comics that, by the very nature of it's intended origin, should never have needed one) Magneto has finally become pissed off enough to warrant his laying waste to the Earth, in an attempt to punish homo sapiens for the death of his kids; Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch.

To that end, he has screwed up the magnetic fields of the planet and caused earthquakes, ice-ages and floods to crop up all over the world.

During the massive flooding of Manhattan, many heroes were killed - either by the disaster itself, or by altercations with villains.

"Strangely" enough, with the exception of the Hulk
the other 3 guys in this pic are now (or are claimed to be) DEAD.

One such instance was when Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum was destroyed (remember, check out the last entry at THIS post for the full scoop on that).
Spider-Man and the Hulk were battling against the various demonic hoards that erupted from the wreckage of the mansion, including the possessed form of Stephen Strange.
It seems that "Doc Jr." was knocked out and the entity; NIGHTMARE invaded his body.

"Who's been sleeping in MY head?"
(from Ultimate Spider-Man # 132 Bendis/Immonen/Von Grawbadger)

Nightmare-Strange then manipulates Spidey and Hulk to battle foes pulled from their own nightmares, and in doing so, causes the Hulk to go ape-shit and thusly destroy a vital mystic ward inside the Sanctum.

This isn't good.It's like that episode of Bugs Bunny where the gremlin is testing warheads with a hammer.
(also from Ult. Spidey # 132)

This dimensional barrier was the only thing keeping DORMAMMU from invading Earth, and with its destruction, the Lord of the Dark Dimension rose out of the ashes.

Ultimatum # 4 (of 5)
Jeph Loeb (half-assed story), David Finch (sweet pencils),
Danny Miki (crisp inks), Peter Steigerwald (pretty colors)
It would seem that THIS was sufficient to "wake" Strange, and for him to shake off the possession by Nightmare - although, the writing is so piss-poor that this, and other plot points, aren't clearly addressed.

For instance, WHEN in "Ultimate Doc's" published history has he been portrayed as being anything more than a 2nd rate sorcerer? When did he show that he could levitate without the Cloak of Levitation? When did he suddenly get the stones to go up against Dormammu of all things? (something Doc Sr. could do, but Jr. here just never seemed able to much beyond basic spells.)

I also find it a bit forced that Dormammu is brought up at all in this, since there's only ever been the most basic of mystical threats shown in the Ultimate U. At least where the resident "Sorcerer Supreme" has been concerned.
Xandu and Nightmare.
Pretty sure that's been the sum total.
So, Dormammu pops up with little or no explanation.
If someone were to read this issue having never read a "616" appearance of Dormammu before, they'd just think he was a generic flame-headed demon.
No biggie.
So. Chalk that up to piss-poor writing as well.
(Synonymous with the name LOEB)

(I SHOULD mention at this time that the artwork is beautiful. Finch, Von Grawbadger and Steigerwald really do themselves justice here. But, back to my rant about the writing...)

Also, when was the Human Torch shown to have been grabbed by Dormammu?
It's an off-panel event (unless I missed something. If so, please set me straight in the comments section).
Sure he's been MiA for a while in the Ult FF title, but there hadn't been any reason to think that he'd pop up in Dormammu's keepsake locket, right?

The Torch is being used as a fire source... and WHY is that?!? Sure, Dormammu is a Faltinian and flame is their natural state - so unless he required an earthly manifestation of fire to use as a catalyst, I don't see the need (although, we really don't know much about "Ultimate Dormammu" * ).

Don't start none - won't be none.
Well... I guess there'll BE some no matter what, really.

However, Dormammu isn't taking ANY shit from Junior here.
In a bit of dialogue that sets up the title of "Sorcerer Supreme" as a mantle passed down a blood-lineage (not sure how I feel about that really), Dormammu states that he is finally to rid himself of the last, and least of the line.

Dormammu pops Jr. like a boil on the ass of the world.

So, thankfully (and in reply to my many prayers for just such an occasion - many of which had been written ON THIS BLOG) "Ultimate Doc" is killed off as the punk that he is.
Good riddance.

Or... IS he really gone?

For we next see a shadowy form sigh and vanish with young Stephen Jr's bloody pulped body.

Perhaps it is Wong. I doubt that it is Stephen's mother, Clea. She wouldn't be casual enough to sigh at her son's horrific demise. Especially since her only appearance in the Ultimate line was as a worried-sick mother who did not want her son to follow in his father's footsteps (back in the Ultimate Team Up series - Issue # 12 to be exact. Ult Doc's first appearance).

Perhaps, and this is MY wish; it is DOCTOR STRANGE (Sr.) himself, free of whatever dimensional situation he vanished to all those years ago, returned to Earth, only to bear witness to his son's death.
That would finally make "Ultimate" Doctor Strange more than his son; "PenUltimate Doc".
If Stephen Strange Sr. comes out to play in the Ultimate universe, then I'll be happy.
(Well... relatively happy, since I really don't give a crap about the Ultimate U. thus far.)

So there you have it.
The "event" is not yet over at the time of this writing.
One last issue of the mini and a few "Requiem" issues to go, and then we'll see a new rebirth to the "Ultimate" universe.

Stephen Strange Jr.
(Rest in Pieces)
2002 - 2009


* I had a thought.
If the Ultimate Universe is just another reality, and there have already been many examples of Marvel "616" characters being able to access other realities (since they are just other dimensions, really) - wouldn't that possibly make this "Ultimate Dormmamu" to simply BE the "616" Dormammu?

Sure, it COULD be another version of the entity, but WHY?
The Ultimate Universe should primarily be alternate versions of the PHYSICAL PLANE; i.e; people, planets, space, etc... and NOT the DIMENSIONAL aspects of reality.

But, then, they DO have an "Ultimate Asgard" don't they?
Is there an "Ultimate Living Tribunal" or "Ultimate Eternity"?
Having "Ultimate" dimensional entities just seems wrong to me.

Oh well... whatever.
"Ultimately"... does it really matter?



Well, there's been some answers to my questions / points of problematic happenstance in this issue (published later in Fantastic Four: Requiem).

REVIEW and INFO can be found in a new post [HERE]


Friday, June 26, 2009

Crawling From the Wreckage.

Just a quick hit-n-run post.

After a long dry spell, I'm in the process of reading 2+ months' worth of comics (stuff that came out since my job downsizing) and I have a TON of things that I need to blog about here.

Thanks to a very good friend (and former co-worker) who loaned me his laptop, I'll be able to do just that.

However, I just need to install some kind of image optimizing software first (photoshop preferably) and then we're off to the races.
(Only problem is the CD/DVD drive isn't operational, so I need to do a workaround.)

Anyway, LOTS of good stuff.
More Doctor Strange appearances than I've seen in recent YEARS!
That whole Doctor Voodoo thing.
More 6-Dimensions goodness!

And much much more!

See you guys soon.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A NEW Kind of Magic?
He do that VOODOO that He do!

Hey there visitors to the Sanctum,

It's BEEN a while since I blogged about anything comics related.
So... here's some new news!

I took a few minutes to read an article or two today (while I am gutting my old computers of all their contents, in preparation of the complete retooling that they are to receive this weekend), and read an interesting interview with Brian Michael Bendis - on the future of...
DOCTOR STRANGE & Brother Voodoo.

Now, I won't give away anything that anyone out there might NOT know yet (especially since even I haven't had a chance to actually read the comics), but it seems the new name for Brother Voodoo is to be...

(I guess that does kinda let the cat out of the bag though, right? sorry.)

The interesting part of it all is, that while handing the Eye of Agamotto to Voodoo
in recent issues of New Avengers is an interesting turn of events (although still a completely UNNECESSARY one) - and I have to admit that I have always had an interest in the character - the REAL mind-blowing bit of news is that DOCTOR VOODOO is to
get his own BOOK!
(not sure yet if it's to be an ongoing or a mini)

I can see WHY they're going with Voodoo.
It really DOES make a kind of sense (Voodoo has rules and rituals that traditional comic book "magic" doesn't - and THAT has been perplexing Marvel editors for years).

Not saying that I AGREE at all... but since Quesada and co. have been up in arms about magic = no rules, then Voodoo might be a way to fake out the system. (Although, one HAS to wonder how much "actual VOODOO" is going to be in the pages of a comic book before parental groups start burning comic shoppes to the ground).

Still, have to wonder how long it'll last.

A few years at least.

Check out this article (HERE) for the full 411.
Explanations are given as to WHY Voodoo is thought to be a good selection, a possible new story-set for Stephen Strange and more.

As to that, the future of Strange, and other newsworthy tidbits...
with luck, I'll have a laptop with which to blog about all this (and all the other old stuff I had intended) before the weekend is through.

If so, look for more (up to date) stuff here as well in the next week.
If NOT... well... then it'll be "catch-as-catch-can" for awhile.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Behold: The WORKS of the MASTERS!

Hello again visitors to the Sanctum!

I don't mean to keep blogging ONLY when there are new items up for auction/ sale on eBay... but until I can get my hands on a laptop for blogging... (which should be within two weeks, I hope)... I'm stuck with the old tower machines in the catacombs beneath the Sanctum.
(and I don't have access to them as much as I would a laptop)

Ah well...
This was to have been the start of a BIG week of items.
Unfortunately, fate intervened and the only new items to be listed are the first 10 Hardcover editions of the MARVEL MASTERWORKS series!

(all listed separately)

From the late 1980's, nearly ALL of these are 1st Editions.
These are the original printings, not the recent re-releases.


- Vol 01 : Amazing Spider-Man # 01 - 10 & Amazing Fantasy # 15
- Vol 02 : Fantastic Four # 01 - 10
- Vol 03 : X-Men # 01 - 10
- Vol 04 : Avengers # 01 - 10
- Vol 05 : Amazing Spider-Man # 11 - 20
- Vol 06 : Fantastic Four # 11 - 20
- Vol 07 : X-Men # 11 - 21
- Vol 08 : Incredible Hulk # 01 - 06
- Vol 09 : Avengers # 11 - 20
- Vol 10: Amazing Spider-Man # 21 - 30 & Annual # 1

I bought all of these when they were first released, starting back in 1987.
I'm pretty sure that the comic shoppe I obtained them from was a cool little store called;
based in East Meadow, New York on Long Island.

I was a little hesitant to buy them because they were a bit on the pricey side (about $30 or so per book), and that there would be MANY of them.
I was an under-employed artist at the time (hmmm... that sounds familiar), so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to plunk down the price on a long-term basis.

Still... I was really getting heavy into my ever expanding collector's mindset at that time, and I have always tried to support a new printing venue - in hopes that, if enough sales might warrant - a Doctor Strange edition of same would emerge.

And so, I started buying them.

I didn't really crack them open to read.
These seemed too much like long-term archive editions to be for everyday use.
So, I kept them on a shelf and would lightly flip through them on very rare occasions.
Just peeking in between the pages - afraid to crack open the spines.

As such, these books are in fabulous condition.
Pure white, crisp clean pages.
Sadly, some of the dust jackets may have some minor signs of wear.
(But without having them sealed in plastic and in a box away from sight, such a thing is to be expected.)

I continued buying them, and enjoying the beautiful archival nature of these hardcover editions, until I reached the 10th volume.
I do recall feeling like Marvel was trying for a cash-grab with the 11th volume, because they jumped over the rest of the old-school X-MEN issues to go to the "All New, All Different 'Uncanny' X-Men" issues instead.

"That's all for me - for now. I showed my support for this new print style." I remember thinking.
" least until a Dr. Strange volume is released."

I do have several of the Dr. Strange volume that was eventually released.
One of the original printings, and each of the newer re-released numbers (regular and variant editions).

I'm holding off on selling those just yet.

Anyway, as for these first 10 editions, my helpers had some technical difficulties in the photography aspects of this week's auctions, so this is all that will be available.

If only the unemployment regulations did not forbid my helping out.
I have faith in my team however.

Soon enough, a steady stream of stuff will surge from the Sanctum.

Please bear with us.

And as for ME... I am DYING to get to actual BLOGGING here.
As soon as I get a laptop (a great friend is loaning me his unused one), I'll be tossing MANY a great tidbit and article here for those faithful few who are still hanging around the periphery of this blog.

I owe you guys that much, at least.

Have a great day.
Feel free to bid on the books.
Low starting prices.
No reserves.
Just use the handy-dandy eBay link-button on the sidebar
(somewhere just under the pic of yours truly).

These Masterworks are sold.
Auction ended - quite successfully.
Thanks to all who participated!

Don't fret though, more auctions are always being listed, so check that link often.
*End Update*

Take care - for now.